The confusion surrounding the legality of CBD has taken another victim. Last week California-based cannabis company CannaCraft agreed to settle a lawsuit alleging that the company made baseless health claims about their CBD products.
According to MJBizDaily Sonoma County brought a civil suit against the company, alleging that the company made claims regarding its CBD brand Care By Design on its website, saying its products could “change gene expression and remove beta amyloid plaque, the hallmark of Alzheimer’s, from brain cells.”
The site also claimed that, “Scientific and clinical studies have shown that CBD could be therapeutic for many conditions, including chronic pain, cancer, anxiety, diabetes, epilepsy, rheumatoid arthritis, PTSD, sleep disorders, alcoholism, cardiovascular disease, antibiotic-resistant infections and neurological ailments.”
CannaCraft chose to settle the suit without admitting to any liability. It agreed to pay $250,000 in civil penalties, $25,000 in restitution and $25,000 for investigation costs.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has banned the use of CBD in over-the-counter supplements and consumables. The law bars anyone from selling compounds used as the main ingredient in pharmaceuticals in OTC products. Since CBD is the active ingredient of Epidiolex—a drug used to treat children with a rare form of epilepsy—it’s technically illegal to carry on store shelves.
But the FDA said it wouldn’t be prosecuting companies who sell CBD for the time being—unless they make unsubstantiated medical claims about their products.
CBD Company Challenges Trademark Law
A CBD beverage company is trying to overturn a rule that blocks businesses from trademarking illegal products.
Marijuana Moment reports that CBD-infused drink company Joy Tea recently submitted an “intent to use” application to secure trademarks for its products ahead of legalization. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) denied the request, however, stating that companies cannot pursue trademarking illegal products until they have been cleared for sale by the federal government.
“While applicant may be anticipating that CBD-based beverages will be made lawful at the federal level within the time frame for filing an allegation of use,” wrote USPTO, “that anticipation does not make this application registrable.” The agency clarified that the products in question have to be fully legal at the time of application. “FDA intentions, public opinion in favor of legalization of cannabis and anticipation of change in the current law have no bearing on the prosecution of a trademark application,” it said.
But Joy Tea is appealing the decision. Its lawyer, Larry Sandell, told reporters that “intent to use” trademark applications give pharmaceutical companies a chance to legally claim intellectual properties for compounds that have not been approved by the FDA. “If you’re marketing a new product, and you’re starting to lay the groundwork, it would be terrible if somebody could just swoop it up and beat you to the trademark office and steal it out from under you,” he said.
It’s unclear why the agency is singling out CBD companies. “There’s no real logical basis for the split,” Sandell said. The USPTO responded that unapproved pharmaceuticals are not unlawful substances.
The company’s appeal seeks to overturn the rule. If the appeal goes through, it will have major ramifications for companies looking to enter a potential future legal cannabis market.
Head of NIDA Supports Decriminalization
Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), just wrote an essay that could be interpreted to support the decriminalizing drugs.
In “Addiction Should Be Treated, Not Penalized,” Volkow highlights that current drug laws target people of color and can contribute to overdose deaths. Although she shies away from explicitly suggesting that the U.S. decriminalize drugs, she points out that drug addiction is not a criminal issue. “We have known for decades that addiction is a medical condition—a treatable brain disorder—not a character flaw or a form of social deviance,” she wrote. “Yet, despite the overwhelming evidence supporting that position, drug addiction continues to be criminalized. The U.S, must take a public health approach to drug addiction now, in the interest of both population well-being and health equity.”
Volkow wrote that the agency will now be taking efforts to study addiction and substance abuse in minority communities and look for ways to eliminate “systemic barriers to addiction care.”
Study: Cannabis Users More Active Than Non-Users
The cliché of the pothead glued to the couch and lazily eschewing any and all physical activity is being placed under a microscope and found lacking. A new study published in the Harm Reduction Journal found that frequent cannabis users engaged in more physical activity than non-current users
The study analyzed data from the 2005–2006 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey and involved 2,092 participants aged 20 to 59. The participants took part in sedentary behavior, light physical activity and “moderate-to-vigorous” physical activity while using an accelerometer to measure their level of movement. The participants’ cannabis use over the last 30 days was classified as light, moderate, frequent or non-current.
According to the results, current cannabis users shared comparable sedentary behavior to non-users. But frequent cannabis users took part in more physical activity than non-current users. This is a far cry from the stereotypes pushed in popular culture considering marijuana use.
Scientists Look For More Hemp Uses
A team of chemists is working to find new uses for hemp seed oil.
According to FarmProgress a two-year agreement between Agricultural Research Service scientists and the Midwest Bioprocessing Center that started in April will attempt to use a patented process for binding natural antioxidants to lipids in vegetable oils. The process produces new ingredients that can be used in personal care products. The ingredients are superior to those currently used, because they offer antioxidant properties and better UV absorbance.
The team previously worked on a project that used the process to to create a class of compounds called feruloyl soy glycerides from soybean oil. They now want to produce similar compounds from biocatalyzed hemp seed oil. The team will attempt to make skin-care ingredients with specific properties like UV protection or moisture retention.